You may or may not be aware that Embodyment is sick. With a catalog ranging from death metal to alternative rock ... these guys cover most of the bases that I'm into.
Starting in 1993 the band would release three different demos over the course of three years; all with a Living Sacrifice-influenced death metal sound. Solid State Records would later re-release these in CD format along with two previously-unreleased pre-production tracks for songs off of their monumental debut full length, Embrace The Eternal.
Well, when I say "monumental" I mean in terms of how good it was ... most certainly not in terms of how many people got into it. Despite the album blowing away mostly everything else coming out at the time (1998) I'm fairly certain it made little to no waves outside of the Christian scene. Despite the crossover success of Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest by Zao (most certainly an influence on this Embodyment album as well), Christian bands were still mostly secluded to their own scene at the time. I'll put it to you this way, I had to buy this album at Family Christian Bookstores as opposed to Jamey Jasta's distro.
As previously mentioned, this album was a turning point for the band as the songs took a definite influence from Zao's most recent endeavor (which changed heavy music as a whole, by the way). While the band was progressing more towards a "metalcore" sound as evidenced on their demo collection, the difference heard between the pre-production versions recorded BEFORE the release of Zao's pinnacle album and the album versions recorded AFTER the release of said album is quite obvious.
This is not to discredit Embodyment as much as it is to illustrate the impact that Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest had on (especially) the Christian hardcore scene. I would've stepped my game up after the release of that album as well.
So anyhow, after they perfected the art of death metalcore, Embodyment went through a pretty significant line-up change and followed it up with The Narrow Scope Of Things. Never before had I heard such progression from one album to the other. We're talking brutal metalcore to alternative rock in one album flat. At the time I was pretty bummed, but looking back now I can appreciate the Lostprophets/Hoobastank transition.
Transition is the key word I'll use to describe The Narrow Scope Of Things album as that is mostly what it served in my mind. While the album has it's moments of brilliance it still shows signs of a band searching out a new sound. On their third and final full length for Solid State Records (entitled Hold Your Breath) the band reached what I consider to be their pinnacle. Any signs of aggressiveness were written out in favor of radio-worthy hooks and melodies. Well, I take that back. The album actually is quite intense and aggressive, but not in any sort of way one would expect. For whatever reason the words to describe the album aren't coming to me ... which is why you should just download and listen for yourself if you're interested in hearing a unique album.
After the release of this album (and their subsequent release from their label contract), the band would put together a promotional album in hopes of being signed to a major label. Unfortunately this never panned out for the band but fortunately for us, the tracks would later be released as the Songs For The Living album towards the end of their career. This fourth and final full length from Embodyment would serve as the completion of their journey into finding their own sound. While being somewhat comparable to the more "mature" rock bands like Jimmy Eat World, the album once again has its own sound that can't be put into words ... at least by me.
The majority of the original members of this band rejoined forces several years ago to form The Famine (which would also be released by Solid State Records). While the new project is reminiscent of the early Embodyment material ... and is quite solid for a band that formed past the year 2007 ... it doesn't quite capture the feel of the Embrace The Eternal full length. As always here at the Path To Misery blog, however, "it's still better than mostly everything else coming out these days".
Also included in this download is the bonus song from Embrace The Eternal entitled "Halo Of Winter" which was featured on the first Solid State Records compilation. Quite a rager.
Another bonus is the "Forgotten" EP which is a collection of 5 songs recorded immediately before the band separated. It had made it's way around Napster and the likes back in the day but was officially released as an iTunes EP in 2011. As with everything else the band has ever done ... it is both a solid and unique album.
DOWNLOAD - Part 1 (Demos 1993-1996 & Embrace The Eternal)
DOWNLOAD - Part 2 (The Narrow Scope Of Things & Hold Your Breath)
DOWNLOAD - Part 3 (Songs For The Living & Forgotten)